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Gallup Poll: Less Than 15 Percent of Americans Believe Florida Election Dilemma a Crisis

Aired November 20, 2000 - 1:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Florida state Supreme Court is to convene just about 21 minutes from now to hear arguments about the validity of hand counting presidential ballots. We plan extensive live coverage and we begin with this: You've heard the recount described as everything from a bump in the road to a constitutional crisis, but most people in this country seem to be taking it all in stride.

Frank Newport joins us now with results from the latest Gallup survey -- Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Indeed, Joie. In fact, less than 15 percent of Americans think this is a crisis, and that number has actually been going down rather than going up.

Here's an interesting question, and this is from yesterday, a poll we just finished last night. Are you bothered -- how bothered are you? -- by the fact that, ultimately, as we're about to see, this presidential decision could be decided in a court? Well, the answer to that question very much depends on where you're coming. Very fascinating results here. Look at this. If you're a Bush supporter, see the tallest bar there, the red bar there, says I am bothered a great deal by the fact that this ends up in the courts.

If you're a Gore supporter, it's completely the opposite. Look over here. Most people, at least a plurality of these people that support Gore, said, I'm not bothered at all. In other words, Gore supporters say, good, I'm glad we're in the courts; Bush say, it's too bad that we ended up in the courts.

Now, if the public could vote on having the hand recounts included, across America, how would they vote? Well, 60 percent would say, yes, include the hand recount.

Now, this is still, not shockingly, a very partisan response. Again, among Gore supporters, 92 percent, almost every Gore supporter across the land, says, yes, include those hand recounts. One reason that number is higher than just a 50/50 break is Bush supporters aren't quite so adamant in opposing the hand recounts. So when you average this together, that's where you got that 60 percent who support them overall.

Now, we did ask a question about kind of a faith in what's happening in Florida. And I'm sad to say it's pretty low. But the question was: Do you think it's possible that, ultimately, we will get a complete and accurate count of what really happened in Florida voting-wise? And look at this: 79 percent, almost eight out of 10 Americans, say, no, they don't think, ultimately, we'll ever have a completely accurate count.

Now, that may be why, when we asked people, would you accept either of these candidates as president? both get a very legitimate reading here. If Bush is elected, or at least ends up being the winner, we should say, 86 percent say, yes, he would be legitimate in our last poll. For Gore it's 80 percent. So whatever happens, our read is: The American public says, we'll accept either candidate as a legitimate president of the United States.

Joie, back to you.

CHEN: Frank Newport from the Gallup Poll. Thanks, Frank.

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